Polarized light has many uses: glare reduction, stress analysis, microscope image enhancement, thin-film characterization, astronomy, saccharimetry, and atomic spectroscopy. Here we discuss introductory polarized light measurements in which a diode laser pointer replaces the more frequently used polarized He-Ne laser. A diode laser has been used in introductory optics experiments, and in a more advanced polarization-reflection experiment. Its strong collimated beam is completely polarized and, being free of infrared radiation, it permits Polaroid sheets to be used successfully with semiconductor detectors.

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